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ARL Releases 2020 Annual Report Highlighting the Critical Role of Research Libraries and Archives During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Washington, D.C. - The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Annual Report 2020 highlights the collective priorities and accomplishments of ARL as a member-driven organization consisting of 124 member research libraries and archives from Canada and the United States in 2020. ARL navigated the unprecedented year of 2020 by prioritizing the opportunities and addressing the core concerns of research libraries and archives given major societal and institutional challenges, specifically, the COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide protests against police brutality in the US, and the US presidential election. ARL also focused on promoting the expertise and resources of research libraries, the necessity of continued investment in research libraries, and the role of research libraries in sustaining democracy.

As a collective of leading research libraries and archives, ARL convenes, informs, shapes, and influences the research and learning ecosystem. The 2020 Annual Report showcases the collaborative accomplishments of ARL in alignment with our 2019–2021 Action Plan. The Action Plan was updated to focus on 2021–2022 in light of what we've learned over the course of the year. The Annual Report highlights the critical role research libraries and archives played during a time of remote research and learning, with dramatic shifts in the research enterprise and in advancing open science, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The report covers advocacy and public policy objectives, such as equitable digital affordances, dismantling systemic racism, funding for higher education, accessibility of library materials and services, and balanced copyright and fair use.

The report provides an overview of ARL's 2020 assessment activities, data collection, and analysis. It highlights the development of leadership programs and resources to advance professional development for library and archive leaders, build community and provide opportunities for diverse and underrepresented individuals in our profession, and ensure that all leaders have the competencies and support they need to create inclusive and equitable organizations.

The ARL Annual Report 2020 is now available for download.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise; advances diversity, equity, and inclusion; and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at


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